They are still a novelty in our diet, but algae provide many benefits and properties to our diet: vitamins, minerals, or proteins. We discover all its virtues.
Arrived directly from Japan, at least in its culinary form, this is the country with the highest consumption of algae per inhabitant, which is why, possibly, all those algae that we usually eat in our country therefore retain their original Japanese name.
In fact, it is likely that if we ask you about a well-known Japanese dish or recipe that stands out precisely for being one of the most popular in this country (at least in the West), it is quite possible that sushi is one of the first that you come to the head. And, among them, the variety known as maki, which is the popular rice roll rolled with nori seaweed.
What are algae?
Algae, as you well know, come to be plants of fresh and salt water, which have – yes – the same cycles as terrestrial plants. However, they have the particular difference that they grow, reproduce and die without the involvement of either sowing or irrigation processes in these processors.
They basically consist of aquatic organisms that range from microscopic unicellular beings to multicellular organisms, which tend to form large colonies (in addition to being tremendously showy).
Did you know that seaweed is essential for life? In fact, they carry out one of the largest contributions of oxygen to the planet, estimating that they participate around 50% of global photosynthesis.
And did you know that, today, there are an estimated 27,000 species in the world? Of these, only a few are destined for human consumption, highlighting among them popular options such as the aforementioned nori seaweed, wakame, Kombu and agar-agar.
Nutritional values of algae
As we indicated at the beginning of this note, algae contribute vitamins, minerals, proteins and high-quality carbohydrates to our diet.
Among them, for example, we highlight the most important ones in the following summary-list:
- Vitamins: The vast majority of algae provide a lot of vitamin E, making them clear agents against aging. In addition, they also have provitamin A (a precursor of vitamin A), as well as beta carotenes, outstanding protectors of sight and skeletal development.
They also provide vitamin C and of the B group.
- Minerals: Among the minerals that algae provide, among the most prominent we find calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, selenium, cobalt and copper.
- Proteins: The most prominent of the proteins that we find in algae is that since these plants are easily absorbed, they therefore assimilate their absorption. They are less toxic than animal proteins, and provide essential amino acids.
- Carbohydrates: Thanks to mannitol, algae are very satiating, helping to stimulate liver function, not increasing blood glucose. We also find mucilages, which tend to reduce irritations, and alginic acid, which is capable of satiating and covering the gastric mucosa.
Most important benefits of algae
After knowing what is the nutritional value at a certainly general level of algae, we are going to know next one of the most interesting questions about them.
And that would not be other than the benefits and properties that these offer to our health.
The algae have fucoidin, a principle that has been shown to slow the carcinogenic action, helping to reduce some tumors, especially those of the breast and colon.
According to various studies, they help to improve the joint, since, it is believed, and they have an active anticoagulant that cleanses the blood.
They also have a great antibiotic effect, which is why they fight infections and, likewise, act selectively on the intestinal flora.
They stimulate the pancreas and spleen, purifying the lymphatic system and eliminating toxins and waste residues, purifying our body.
Properties of the most consumed algae
- Kombu: The Kombu seaweed has a large amount of minerals, among which iodine stands out, being the richest seaweed in this type of mineral and proteins. It helps in the elimination of toxins, activate circulation and control hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Nori: Contains vitamins B12 and A, protein, as well as protein and potassium, iron and calcium. It is capable of preventing both vision and skin problems, it facilitates digestion and, in addition, the elimination of accumulations of fat. It is one of the most used in Japanese cuisine.
- Wakame: It also has a large number of minerals (especially calcium), proteins and vitamins of group B and C. It favors the growth of both hair and nails, and is good against anxiety, stress, fatigue and depression.
- Spirulina: Contains amino acids, essential fatty acids, proteins and vitamins E, A and B12. It is able to control appetite, and is positive in mental and physical activity.
- Agar-agar: It has minerals such as calcium or selenium, and also carbohydrates. Regulates intestinal transit, prevents constipation and protects the gastric mucosa.